Thursday, January 21, 2016

Entry #8 to the AHPC - Three Denizens of Edgar Rice Burrows' Barsoom


First, I want to tip my hat to Sander for this project's inspiration. During last year's Painting Challenge he submitted a wonderful entry that got my mind whirling and my pocketbook prised open to order these great figures.

In 1912 Edgar Rice Burrows published 'A Princess of Mars', the first in what would be 11 novels making up the John Carter of Mars series. Burrows is seen as one of the founding fathers of science fiction and his writing, while a bit anachronistic, still entertains today much as it did over a century ago.


These figures were a close contender for my 'Nostalgia' entry as I've had a real soft spot for the series since I was a teen. I have fond memories of going through the turnstile of novels in our town's pharmacy (which was the only place to buy novels and magazines) and taking furtive glances at the salacious covers of the John Carter paperbacks, trying not to be seen by the store's staff. To me, the art of John Carter is inseparable from the writing itself and I can't help but think of all the wonderful overwrought covers from artists such as Frank Frazetta, Frank Schoonover and Joe Jusko as I reminisce about the novels.



So here we have three denizens of Mars, or 'Barsoom', as Burrows called the Red Planet in his novels.

These 28mm figures are from Tin Man Miniatures. They are really wonderful castings, with very nice poses and, for the most part, requiring almost no cleanup.


This tall, green, four-armed fella is called a Thark. They are a warrior race which show up frequently in the John Carter novels.  He's armed with a pair of cutlasses and has a holstered pistol as well.


I decided to eschew metallic paints for this project as I thought the NMM approach would provide for a more interesting cartoony, cell-shaded effect to the figures.


The above figure is a female Barsoom assassin. I spent some time mulling over what colour to go with and finally decided with a simple deep red as it's often heavily used in the series' cover art


I did a blocky highlighting style to make her robes and boots quite pronounced.


The 'Wild Ride' vignette is a fairly complex white metal model with around 20 parts. It required a fair bit of pinning and filling to complete, and while I'm still not completely happy with it, I still really like the sense of movement it gives. 


I decided to go with a blue skin tone on the beast as I like the sharp contrast against the red-themed groundwork and, well, it's a freaky looking alien so it seemed to fit.

In regards to the bases, I was at a bit of a loss as at first.  I wanted groundwork that was distinctly alien, but yet not so over-the-top to overpower the figures. In the end I decided to use bits of bark built-up with glue to create a stratified rock effect which did a decent job of blending with the original bases, and then went with a pale orange/red base colour and just highlighted from there. 





As to the vegetation, Burrows describes much of Mars being covered with loamy, yellow-red plants so I thought I'd use some old 'autumn' foam flock which I've always thought looked a bit too weird for Earth anyway, but it's finally found it's home on Barsoom.


Thanks for dropping by for a visit folks!

24 comments:

  1. Oh Curt, what a delight! Stunning work and now jotted in my notebook!

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    1. Thanks Michael, I think you'd have great fun working on these castings.

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  2. Excellent work on those miniatures! I have a bunch of John Carter of Mars figures from Bronzeage Miniatures. They too have some wonderful looking Tharks
    http://www.bronzeagemin.com/miniatures_html/32MM/SCI-FI/sci-fi28mm.htm should you be seeking more to add to your collection. Cheers! I may have to dig that series of books out again for another read.

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    1. Thanks very much Terry. I definitely want to work on some Bronze Age castings as I particularly like their range of aliens and beasts.

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  3. Lovely looking miniatures very nicely done. A favourite topic of mine since I was a nipper reading the books. Think I'll check out the figures over on Bronzeage Miniatures. Nice.

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  4. Loved this one mate! Probably my favourite sci-fi entry so far. Everything about it is a bit different and thought provoking, never mind the painting which is something else. Can we see some close ups of the basing? Really like them and wouldn't mind replicating that on one of my future projects...

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    1. Thanks Millsy, very kind of you. I've popped a couple more shots up that focus more on the bases (well, one is sort of out-of-focus but you'll get the gist of it).

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  5. I really did like this set here.. great work as always Curt!

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  6. You outdid my miniatures by light-years mate! The colours and the bases as well, are excellent!

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    1. You're too kind Sander. Thanks again for the inspiration to get these done.

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  7. Fantastic figures, Curt, with a great painting work. The bases are very nice, too.
    And this is a very interesting range of figures...

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  8. Fantastic bit of work there Curt from an excellent series as I'm both a fan Burroughs and Frazetta!

    Christopher

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    1. Cheers Christopher. I love those artists of the 60s, 70s and 80s. The other fantasy artist I always liked was Boris Vallejo.

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  9. A cracking entry Curt. I am in awe of the variety of work you produce, I find myself being drawn to new things... But I think you need to pop these lads in the post to give me kick start..

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    1. Well, thanks very much for your kind words Dave. I would consider it, but I know the eight-legged critter wouldn't even make it out my door without flying into its component parts!

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  10. Excellent, love the painting and subtile basing. Top notch work!

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    1. Thank you very much Timmy! I'm happy you like them.

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  11. Fabulous work. The trio look great. They are ace books I have only read a couple so far. Can appreciate how inspiring the art is as well.

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